Now that elementary, junior high, high school and colleges are back in session in Sacramento, there are more pedestrians walking to and from school, bus stops, after-school activities, sports, homes of friends, after school programs and to their own residences.
With more people (and children) on the roads, an increase in pedestrian injuries is likely. Of the top five causes of injury-related death in the United States, unintentional pedestrian injuries ranked 5th for children ages 5 to 19 with teenagers being at the greatest risk.
In fact, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2012 totaling 4,743 deaths. On average, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes. (Source: Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, April 2014).
These alarming statistics had prompted the US Department of Transportation to make tools and funds available for communities to combat pedestrian accidents.
August 5, 2013 – WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a new set of tools to help communities combat the rising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last two years. As part of the campaign, the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making $2 million in pedestrian safety grants available to cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths, and along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is launching a one-stop shop website www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian with safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and others involved in improving pedestrian safety.
WALK Sacramento Promotes Pedestrian Safety
Given Sacramento’s mild climate, flat terrain, picturesque scenery, rivers, etc., walking and bicycling are viable and important transportation modes in our city. WALK Sacramento, a non-profit community organization working to achieve safe, walk-able communities in the Sacramento region has created a website containing valuable information for the Sacramento community found at www.walksacramento.org.
One of the key initiatives of WALK Sacramento is the implementation of Safe Routes to School. They have partnered with the following school and communities to do just that:
- City of Citrus Heights and the San Juan Unified School District to conduct walk assessments of 11 area schools and create Safe Routes master plans for those schools.
- City of West Sacramento and Washington Unified School District to assess 8 schools in the area and create a culture of walking to school.
- Sacramento County DOT has created a Sacramento pedestrian map to educate Sacramento residents on pedestrian walkways.
- Sacramento County DOT will also conduct walk assessments of 15 elementary and middle schools.
Sacramento Walk to School Day
October 7, 2015 marks Walk to School Day, an event that supports kids walking to and from school, and sponsored by WALK Sacramento. The non-profit hopes to answer the question: “Why Walk?” These are just a few of the answers they hope to promote.
- Walking helps reduce childhood obesity rates and improve health of students.
- It provides children with the physical activity they need each day.
- Walking in the morning reduces excess energy which improves focus in class.